LATIN STAR RIO (JUNE, 2011)
We are in the most lively city of South America. In English “River of January”; That is, the River Jan. The Portuguese seafarers named it “Rio” because they discovered it in January.
After a 14-hour flight from Spain, we arrive in Rio, Brazil's second largest city. Time is 6 hours behind of Turkey. We are settling into our hotel facing famous Copacabana Beach, where the movie “Fast and Furious” made. As it is located in a region close to the equator, the weather is quite beautiful even though it is winter,
World-famous Copacabana Beach
Portuguese is Brazilian official language. It has the world's most crowded Catholic population.
Our first route in Rio is Corcovado Hill. Using public transport, we arrive at this hill which means “humpback”. The warning sign in the bus is not escaping from the attention of us. The obese sign is added to the sign near the seats where the patients, the elderly and the disabled should be placed prioritizedly. Our goal is to see the sculpture of Jesus on the hill above the city... Everywhere is green, as the Tijuca National Park is located here.
The "Reedemer" on the hill is about 32 m. and one of the world’s 7 wonders. The right hand of the “Reedemer” shows the south and the left hand shows the north.
We take a break for a drink which is the dark red-colored Açai, a mixture of tropical fruits. After a little refreshment, we continue our journey. Our new route is Sugar Loaf Mountain. We arrive by cable car to this area which means "sugary trip". On the cable car we watch the unique view of the Atlantic Ocean.
We eat our dinner at a restaurant at Copacabana Beach. For the palm-planted fish we eat, we pay an exorbitant account.
The next day we agree together with our guide, Louisa who sits there, to go to the shanty district which takes its name from the favela plant. We are advised that we should not go without a guide, because it is made up of "slums" where relatively poor people reside. At the beginning of our trip we see renowned samba schools. They are preparing for the Rio Carnival in February. We continue our journey on narrow streets where only one person can walk. We take Caipirinha taking a break on the road. It is a popular alcoholic drink of the Brazilian liqueur "cachacha" obtained from a mixture of lemon, sugar and ice. While we are drinking our "Caipirinha", we are also chatting with Louisa on the famous Brazilian series. When we speak of ”Escrava Isaura” (“The Slave Isaura”), she is quite surprised that we are still watching that series. Then we take a photo in front of colorful houses like lego on our way.
Shanty district: “Favela”s
In the evening we go to the café Colombo in the center to taste the famous Brazilian cafes. After drinking our cafe, the history of which dates back to the old times, we go to a night club to watch “samba”.
The next morning when we go to the airport to go to Iguassu, which is on the Argentine - Brazil - Paraguay border, we are faced with a surprise.
We need to get on the plane from the airport in Argentina. Without losing time, we take a cab to cross the Brazil - Argentina border and arrive at the new airport. A remote view of the Amazon forest is worth seeing... Now a new adventure is waiting for us.
A SCENE FROM HEAVEN: FOZ DO IGUAÇU
Foz do Iguaçu (name in Brazil) is also one of the "slow-citte" places. As if no one lived in this place green as far as the eye can reach. After a little rest, we are on our way to make the Macuco Safari. We arrive at the bus center with the key word "centro". This is the most important and useful word we learn in Portugal.
First we visit “Nature Park”. There are plenty of "raccoon" around. We are a little doubtful about approaching this animal type that we are not accustomed to in Turkey.
We are getting on our boats to visit the waterfalls region (Iguazú Falls) by wearing life jackets and raincoats. It is a great experience to get wet by going through the waterfalls while we think we will watch them from a far. There are hundreds of waterfalls here. We are just passing near by the so-called "Devil's Throat", the debit of which is very high. After the boat safari, the rainbow that accompanies the waterfalls that we see while passing through the view points is a unique sight.
Famous Iguazú Falls
Iguazú Falls: Devil's Throat
We intend to cross the border and go into Paraguay, a 45-minute drive away with the rustic and outdated buses used by immigrants seen generally in the Hollywood movies on the Mexican border; but we do not have time and we go back to our hotel.